Greek Dolmadakia Recipe – Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves
Spring is the best time to prepare dolmadakia, when vine leaves are young and fresh. I’ve been lucky to have access to homegrown and organic tender, young vine leaves, and once you’ve used the best, its difficult to use the preserved varieties.
So how to prepare this classic Hellenic dish? It’s very simple, a little time consuming, but its definitely worth it!
Here’s a little video of me preparing dolmadakia that you might enjoy!
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup long grain rice
1 cup hot water, from kettle
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
salt and pepper, season to taste
30-50 vine leaves, depending on size
Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan and saute the onion until soft and transparent.
Add the rice, stir, and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
Continue stirring for a minute before adding the hot water.
Stir well, bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and place a lid on the pot.
To prepare the vine leaves you will need a large stainless steel bowl half filled with boiling water, and another stainless steel bowl filled with cold water. Place around 5 leaves at a time in the hot water first, and press down gently to ensure they are covered. As the leaves change colour which may take 3-5 minutes, remove the leaves gently and place into the cold water to stop the cooking process.
Take each leaf and drain over the edge of a colander that has a large dish beneath it to catch the drips of water. Repeat until all leaves have been prepared.
With the smooth side down, and the stem side towards you, place the vine leaf onto a large plate. Place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture horizontally onto the leaf, and fold in the end with stem, roll once again, and then fold in the sides, and then gently roll to form a nice little parcel.
Line the bottom of a saucepan with 3 layers of baking paper or a heatproof plate that fits snugly and place the dolmadakia on top fitting them in nice and tight. Continue rolling until all leaves are used up.
Drizzle with approximately 1/4 cup olive oil, gently pour over 3/4 cup hot water, and then finish with the juice from half a juicy lemon. Then top with an inverted plate to keep the dolmadakia from moving around in the pot. Place lid on pot and take to the stove top, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and cook for approximately 1 hour or until rice is cooked. You’ll need to have a little sneak peak. When ready, turn off the heat and leave the pot to sit until completely cool and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Dolmadakia usually taste better the next day, so if you can resist, when they have cooled put them onto a serving plate and place in the refrigerator. Enjoy with a dollop of Greek natural yoghurt, a bowl of kalamata olives, wedges of tomatoes, slices of cucumber, some continental bread, and wash down with a crisp white wine.
It's always nice to share!